I have an excellent relationship with our GP Practise, and they have been very good to Bear and I, particularly when they realised I was a 'plopper' - their term that refers to the very solid fact that if there's a hole in the system, I will fall through it, with spectacular results usually. Any system :)
So they are very efficient at covering all the bases. But this week it's all gone pear shaped.
Bear had an appointment a couple of weeks ago, and was asked to make a repeat appointment with our favorite practice nurse. As I was due to go in for my influenza injection the same day or the day after, to save unnecessary travel, they suggested she make a joint for both of us, so we could deal with Bears appointment, and we both could have our 'flu 'jab'. Very thoughtful.
So far so good. Bear watched as they put it on the computer, printed out the appointment......
So off we went this week to the appointment. "Eh?" said the practice nurse, when she saw me. We showed her the printout, but she seemed totally distracted when she was sorting out the Bear. Though we all chatted amicably, she looked visibly confused. Eventually she said "Are you sure you're only here for your jab?" Yes love, I said, cracking some lame joke about two for the price of one offers.
"Only" she said "I don't have you here (on the computer) on a bog off offer. In fact, I don't have you as making an appointment for the jab. In fact, I have you down for an extended appointment in four hours time, alone" She paused. "It's all very confusing. I know you Never come on your own anyway, when we can drag you in" I showed her what we had about the appointment., and she agreed it was correct.
"What's annoying is, " she explained "I now have at least half-an hour today, when I was expecting you and The Bear as your chaperone. Are you sure you haven't made another appointment. Ah, you don't use phones do you? And you don't go out alone do you?" Correct.
There's the clue. The way their appointment system works it would have to be changed manually. And there was no record of an influenza appointment.
The only way it could have happened is that someone had asked to cancel the joint appointment, which I admit is unusual - my carers don't announce that their going with me, it's just expected that they'll be there - indeed, some have a different GP. In this case, it was actually Bears appointment, with me tagged on for the jab. In this case, whoever it was, was probably unaware I have the multi- influenza injection. I'll get to that in a min.
But then whoever it was, went on to make a new, and separate appointment for me, while keeping Bears. I'm very, very confident it wasn't a computer fault at the GP's.
If that's confusing, I don't blame you. It confuses the heck out of me. Mainly why, for what gain?
From my point of view, if I want an appointment now, I've had to arrange to quote my full name, address, patient number and a regularly changed password if I need an appointment. I can can only do it by phone, and only, as it'll be a carer that phones, after the phone has been passed to me to confirm it is a carer. I Hate phones :(
The 'Flu Jab'. There's a Government campaign every Autumn for women over 60, and men over 65 to accept the multi-flu jab. But what's little known is that the offer is also open to anyone under that age if they're in a 'vulnerable group'. That includes me, and Bear as she is my primary carer.